Sunday, April 13, will be celebrated by Sikh Americans as the Festival of Vaisakhi (also known as Baisakhi). Vaisakhi marks the end of the harvest season of crops. Sikhs, being mostly farmers, have always celebrated it, but after 1699, April 13 became an even more significant day on the calendar. This was when the 10th and the last living guru, Guru Gobind Singh, established the Khalsa (the baptized Sikh) and Sikhs adopted the five “K” symbols — the “karha,” a metal bracelet; “kaes,” uncut hair; “kirpan,” a small dagger; “kanga,” a small comb; and the “kaschera,” a typically white undergarment — which give the Khalsas their appearance today.
This Vaisakhi will be celebrated at the historic Stockton Sikh Temple starting at 11 a.m. Thousands come to attend the annual parade and bask in the Punjabi Sikh culture. Free food and refreshments are served throughout the day to the community of attendees who have come to celebrate, educate and learn.
In honor and celebration of the rich culture of the Sikh Americans in California, Nirvaana Consulting along with the Tracy Unified School District will be hosting a Sikh American Heritage Awareness Day on Nov. 1 at Kimball High School from noon to 3 p.m. All are encouraged to attend.
As proud Sikh Americans, we wish our fellow Sikh Americans a very happy Vaisakhi.
Jass Sangha and Jaswin Sangha, Tracy
Thank you, firefighters
I would like to thank the Tracy Fire Department for participating in the annual California Fire Explorers weeklong fire camp, which recently sent two Tracy firemen and five young men active in the Tracy Fire Explorer Program to Healdsburg. It was with pride and admiration to watch the graduation ceremony paying tribute to you all. This was the 40th anniversary of the explorers’ annual training camp that takes place in a different host city for one week every spring and includes close to 170 fire explorers from various cities throughout California. This is the second year in a row that the Tracy fire department has participated and our son has gone both years. Our Tracy team went strong and well prepared as new attendees and was admired by other city fire departments. Each participating city explorer program also sends some of their own firefighters who are volunteering their precious personal time off away from their families, and they transport and actively participate with the young adults daily from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m., assisting with all the daily physical drills, skills and activities. These explorers are being trained as future firemen, learning and practicing such skills as wildland fires, auto extrication, building fires, chemical fires, teamwork, etc. I would like to thank firefighters Jeremy Ward (two years), Andrew Sansaver, Chris Davidson and Ray Gonzalez and Chief Al Nero for supporting the Tracy Fire Explorer Program and actively engaging with these future firemen and promoting such beneficial trainings.
Joyce Bishop, Tracy
Have you ever wondered what you would do if someone you loved needed to be cared for by someone other than you? It was necessary for me, and I found a “little bit of heaven” when my husband, Nelson, was admitted to Astoria Gardens in Tracy. We wonder, “Will he be well taken care of?” and I can truthfully say: Yes, with all the love and attention and spoiling he would have had at home.
The director, Becky, is a sweet, compassionate and totally caring lovely lady. She is on top of all matters, large or small, and always willing to please.
Then there are the others. Cindy, who always came to everyone and greeted them with happy smiles, and planned wonderful events for all the patients’ families to attend with their loved ones. Not leaving out all the other employees that bent over backwards to go beyond their duties to make Nelson’s last days comfortable. Joy, his R.N., and Pat, who helped deliver his belongings to our home, are only a few.
Last of all, the sweet young nurses that cared for Nelson. He called them all “Cutie” and they responded by loving and spoiling him.
Astoria Garden isn’t a “home,” it’s a real home away from home for those that need their special care. And I thank them all, and will never forget their loving kindness.
Mrs. Nelson (Liz) Costa, Tracy
• Editor’s note: Nelson L. Costa died March 22 at the age of 87.